“I think it’s just such a dumb time to be alive. I think people are bored.”
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Jurassic Park suddenly becoming a meme in 2020 encapsulates so many things about this terrible year. First, there is the reason Jurassic Park emerged in the news in the first place: A literal airborne virus made it dangerous to be indoors with others, leading to the closure of most movie theaters and a resurgence of retro drive-ins playing fewer new releases and more crowd-pleasing old titles. As a result, for a weekend in June, Jurassic Park was the No. 1 movie at the box office. Then, there is the fact that that the film’s subject matter has a renewed sense of relevance: Greed and mismanagement lead to a deadly breakout that scientists can’t control. There’s also the whole, you know, “people flocking to dangerous theme parks under questionable circumstances” thing.
Amid the movie’s resurgence, some of the best satire of the summer has come from a related Twitter account, Jurassic Park Updates. Operating under the handle @JurassicPark2go, the account tweets with @dril-like absurdity and ClickHole-like acuity about current affairs, horny dinos, and Ben Shapiro from the perspective of an alternate timeline where Jurassic Park actually exists and is exactly as disastrous as you’d imagine. The account was started by writer PJ Evans and features 11 other contributors: Joseph Garcia, Rajat Suresh, Colin Burgess, Morgan Evans, Julie Greiner, Alyssa Stonoha, Raina Morris, Carmen Christopher, Jay Weingarten, @dlicj, and Sarah Squirm. Ahead of our Friday Night Movie Club screening of Jurassic Park, we spoke to Evans for some updates on Jurassic Park Updates.
You started this account on July 5, a few months into the pandemic and a couple of weeks after Jurassic Park became No. 1 at the box office again. Did you come up with the account in response?
I always wanted to get a bunch of comedians on Twitter involved in one of these parody accounts that I started. I wanted a bunch of different voices in there. And this is my favorite movie so, selfishly, I now get to look at all these funny jokes coming from my favorite people about my favorite thing. I just feel like there’s no better time for it than right now because everything is on fire and the line between parody and reality is so blurred. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if scientists were just like, “Hey, we figured out the thing from the movie and we’re gonna do it.” Everyone, I think, would just be like, “Yeah, okay, that makes sense.”
So how did you go about assembling the group of comedians behind the account?
I had been following all these people for a long time, and I think they’re super-funny, so I just DM’d them on Twitter. We’d all been following each other so it wasn’t super-weird, and I know some of them personally; others I don’t. They were all excited, and it sort of blew up after they all started tweeting.
Can you point to any Jurassic Park Updates tweets and think, Oh, that’s a Rajat one, or Sarah clearly wrote that one?
It’s really tough. Some of them have similar voices, and some are so different. The fun of it, though, is that I don’t know who they’re coming from. It’s a total mystery, and it’s a fun guessing game. I’ll know it’s Sarah if it’s about diarrhea. I’ll be like, Oh, that’s Sarah for sure. She’s really distinct and stands out more than the other folks. I think there are 11 people, including myself. Carmen is also a big voice, and I’ll know it’s him if it’s about COVID-19 and how something is discounted because of the pandemic.
So you said Jurassic Park is your favorite movie. I’ve actually never seen it.
I wish I was in your shoes; I wish I could see it for the first time. Raina, who writes for Jurassic Park Updates, has also never seen it, and she was like, “Should I watch it?” And I was like, “Maybe don’t! Maybe that’s a perspective we need.”
Why is Jurassic Park your favorite movie?
When I was young, my dad was the first person to have surround sound in our neighborhood. And that was always the movie he would play. He would just take out the VHS, pop it in, and have his friends over. I was sort of raised on it, so I don’t know if I love it so much because of nostalgia or if I actually think it’s a really good movie. But it’s my safe movie; I’ll just throw it on. I’ve seen it north of 80 times. I just love it so much — everything about it. I think it’s a perfect movie. I think the three-act structure in it is perfect. Like, if I were to write a screenplay, I would take this movie and just blow it up, basically. I love all of them, except I don’t like the newest one as much. I think it’s too ridiculous.
Good parody Twitter accounts are almost an extinct species. Why do you think this account hit so hard? And why is Jurassic Park such a good space for satire right now?
People [writing for Jurassic Park Updates] are really good at getting into the voice of a social-media manager and twisting the language to where it is believable but there’s still something crazy thing going on underneath. I think everyone who writes for this is so good at grasping that voice and turning it into ridiculousness. I really don’t know why it’s hitting so well. I think it’s just such a dumb time to be alive. I think people are bored.
Have you all decided on a backstory for this anonymous fictional social-media manager behind the tweets?
Personally, I’ve never tweeted from the account using “I” or anything. But a lot of people do that, and I think that’s super-funny. I usually go with “we” to make it seem like I’m speaking for an organization. There’s one tweet that jumps out that’s just like, “Our social-media manager just died, I’m taking over now.” Which is just so stupid. I don’t know who that is or what the story is there, but hopefully we’ll see more. But it’s not going to come from me.
With Jurassic Park Updates, you’re satirizing something you love. How is that different from satirizing something you don’t, like with your other account, @Disneyland2go?
I don’t know anything about Disneyland at all really. I think there’s a little more freedom there for me, because I don’t care at all. But Jurassic Park is a franchise I do deeply care about. But I also don’t mind making fun of it and making it real in this moment. Disneyland I know nothing about. I just went to the park a few years ago with my brother, and just thought, This place is insane. I should parody this because it’s a big mall and people are going nuts here and they’re loving it. There’s just something so funny about dunking on that — not necessarily on the community of folks who love it, just them as a brand.
Now you have a very timely Ellen Show account with some other people as well. How did that one come together?
I just started that one like four days ago. I was just reading that Ellen story in BuzzFeed and so many stories before that about Ellen — how mean she is. And I just thought it would be really fun to take her show and give the keys to some of the most unhinged people on Twitter. This account is crazy. Someone from Twitter who I sort of have a relationship with contacted me and was like, “Hey, you might want to be really careful with a lot of these.” Like there’s one tweet that said, “I killed Regis.” That was the one she pointed to, and I was like “Yeah. If it gets taken down, it gets taken down.” And she said, “No, they could suspend all your accounts.” I told everybody, and they were like, “That’s fine, whatever.” The people on the Ellen account are alt-comedy people who are really pushing the boundaries.
Have you heard any feedback about Jurassic Park Updates from anyone involved in the movies?
No, I haven’t heard anything. I wish Sam Neill would say something.
Jurassic Park Updates is like the chaotic, evil opposite of Sam Neill’s beautiful, good social-media presence.
I know! His wholesome life with his chickens and wine …
Were you a dinosaur kid growing up?
I wasn’t. Like, I didn’t have any action figures or anything. I was really just obsessed with the movie. I wasn’t super-crazy about dinosaurs or anything. I just really, really liked the movie.
I was too scared to watch it as a kid because the VHS had that spooky dino-skeleton logo on the cover. I thought it was this terrifying horror movie.
I mean, I think it is a horror movie. It is spooky. I’m excited to see what you think of it. It really holds up. There are a lot of great jokes in it that are way ahead of their time. It’s great.
One of the Jurassic Park Updates tweets references a random toilet in the middle of nowhere. I looked up the scene it was referring to, and the CGI is so good for 1993. I couldn’t believe it was from the first movie.
Yes, the CGI is incredible. I think it looks better than the movies after it, honestly. They really nailed it.
I personally think the reason Jurassic Park is so timely and back in the conversation — aside from the fact that theme parks really are risking everything to reopen right now — is that it’s about the crazy hubris of these lionized science billionaires and tech billionaires. It’s Elon Musk launching rockets and doing whatever the fuck he wants while tweeting against taxes. That’s Jurassic Park.
Again, I just don’t think it would be that surprising if this were actually a thing — which is why I think it’s so funny to touch on. Like this is probably something Elon Musk would invest in. He would use child labor to create dinosaurs and be very unapologetic about it all. It doesn’t seem that outlandish. Hopefully the account will be around then and they won’t take it down for being, like, too real.
Do you have a single favorite tweet that you feel like is a crowning achievement of the account?
I just saw one yesterday. I have no idea who tweeted it, but I thought it was so funny: “Just sent the new guy into the T-Rex enclosure with a big ass piece of floss.” Just the idea of sending someone in to floss a dinosaur is great.